A decorated Anchorage Police Department officer has been charged with sexually assaulting six women over the past three years, police chief Rob Heun announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Officer Anthony Rollins, a 13-year veteran of the department, faces 10 charges of sexual assault. He's accused of raping or forcing various sex acts on women he encountered while on patrol.
One of the victims said in an interview after the press conference that she was assaulted in the Mountain View police substation.
Police are still investigating, and there may be more victims, Heun said.
An Anchorage grand jury indicted Rollins on Wednesday, and police took him into custody Wednesday morning. His bail is set at $100,000 cash, and he's expected to appear in court Friday.
Anchorage's Standing Together Against Rape, a local agency that helps sexual assault victims, first approached the police department in April about an allegation that Rollins raped a woman. That led to a three-month investigation by Anchorage police, with help from the FBI, that found five more women who said they too were sexually assaulted by the officer.
The assaults date back to March 2006. The most recent occurred April 16.
Heun called Rollins' alleged actions "aberrant and detestable."
"I'm personally proud to wear this uniform," an obviously angry Heun said, pinching his dark-blue, department-issue tie. "I'm appalled that this officer might have dishonored it."
A woman who identified herself as one of the victims said in a telephone interview that Rollins picked her up in Mountain View on a cold December night and offered her a ride home. But instead of taking her to her home, he took her to the police substation and assaulted her.
She said she only told her brother about it and wanted to put it behind her. She said she was 20 at the time. Investigators contacted her in April.
"When I heard that he was in jail, I don't know, I felt like crying, but I felt like smiling really hard, I don't know," she said. "I had a lot of mixed feelings."
As a matter of policy, the Daily News does not identify victims of sex crimes, unless they request it.
As a patrolman, Rollins wasn't assigned to a particular part of the city and worked without a partner, police said.
"No policy or procedure is going to preclude anybody who wants to break it to do just that," Heun said when asked how Rollins could have assaulted five women before the investigation began.
"This is a matter of behavior -- just like no law will preclude anyone from breaking the law," said the chief.
There's no statute of limitations for sexual assault charges, he said, meaning Rollins could still be charged with additional crimes if police find more victims.
Rollins is married to Anchorage police Sgt. Denise Rollins, supervisor of the School Resource Officer program. He is a former police spokesman who sometimes played other high-profile roles in the department.
He represented police at a Muldoon job fair, for example, and as a member of the APD Honor Guard at a memorial honoring fallen policemen.
In December, the department awarded him a medal of valor for rescuing a man from a burning building. In 2004, he received a Meritorious Conduct award for assisting in anti-bullying programs in Anchorage schools. He also made presentations in classrooms on topics including personal safety, like "stranger danger," the school district said.
He faces four counts of first-degree sexual assault, six counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of criminal use of a computer and six counts of official misconduct. Authorities would not detail the charges further on Wednesday.
The department put Rollins on paid leave as soon as he was accused of sexual assault in April. That was changed to unpaid suspension when he was charged with a crime.
"The fact that these allegations may reflect directly on the police force is not fair to the police force and not fair to this community," Heun told reporters gathered at department headquarters. "People in the police department are angry regarding these allegations but will continue to investigate crimes, and I think that the fact that we've done so in this case addresses the concern regarding how we will continue to go about doing our jobs in the most professional manner."
It's unclear if any of Rollins' potential victims ever reported or told authorities about the assaults before Standing Together Against Rape called police in April. Anchorage District Attorney Adrienne Bachman said no such reports were made to the police department.
Efforts over the past several weeks to reach Rollins to comment on the investigation were unsuccessful.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the department's special victims unit at 786-8905.
By KYLE HOPKINS and MEGAN HOLLAND
Anchorage Daily News